For all those in the UK feeling neglected because a right-hand-drive Chevy Bolt-based Vauxhall Ampera-e isn’t being offered, Tata Motors recently showed a proper Bolt EV of its own.
Described by author “Nigel” for The Red Ferret as “impressive,” and “very nice,” with good drivability, attention to detail, and fit and finish all around, the electric conversion of Tata’s UK-built Bolt subcompact left him “a little bit shell shocked.”
India-based Tata now owns Jaguar-Land Rover, and apparently that’s improved quality control over examples of yesteryear, but at the end of the day, that’s all for naught.
That’s because the Bolt EV by Tata is not intended for sale. Whether the name overlap with GM’s car produced in Michigan is of any concern to lawyers at the moment is also anyone’s guess, but that too may not matter.
Nigel said Tata informed him it has an “even better” car in the works, but the Tata Bolt EV, he offered, would sell well in Europe, especially if the range were higher.
Tata’s four-passenger, single-speed Bolt EV utilizes an 80 kW motor, and range in present trim is a scant 62 miles (100 km), just a wee bit shy of the Opel Ampera-e generously rated by NEDC standards at 500 km (310 miles – in the U.S. the Bolt is rated 238).
A sprint from 0-60 mph is also no match for the Bolt/Ampera-e’s 6.5 or so seconds, and Tata reports less than 10 seconds and a top speed of 135 km/h (83 mph, lower than the Bolt’s 91).
This said, the car drives well, is “fun,” and looks good to go, in all meaningful ways. The motor appears as if it was born in the former engine bay, instead of transplanted in, and the interior is quite acceptable for this level of car.
“The total surprise is how nice the car is in just about every department,” wrote Nigel. “You can see no change in the layout of the vehicle from the conversion to electric, no nasty boxes hiding in the rear, no strange knobs in the cockpit. It’s all perfectly standard and looks and drives just like a standard compact. Except it’s completely silent.”
“The finish inside the car is, quite frankly, impeccable for a car of this type,” he added.
Looks-wise, the Bolt is definitely more humble pie, this is true, but it’s “not horrible,” offered Nigel.
In all, it gets an “A” for effort, and lends credence to the Tata’s assertion an even better EV is in the wings.
Meanwhile, Opel – newly sold off by General Motors – says the Ampera-e will come to Europe.
Whether a right-hand-drive Vauxhall Ampera-e is made available remains to be seen, and for now the closest thing to it was the teaser by Tata as it sorts out its efforts on future electric cars.
Hat tio: Brian Ro